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tv   [untitled]    July 7, 2012 12:30am-1:00am PDT

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each property have a rear yard. in the middle of a block, it is very easy. on a corner property, you usually choose -- usually determine where the rear yard is based on open space that conforms most to what would be a yard. in this case, there happens to be a 12 foot wide open space at the eastern end of the property. that most conforms. we are calling that the rear yard. commissioner antonini: understood. were the garage not there, if there was a fence there, probably it would be permitted, if there were access, for the yard to be used as a rear yard, which would presumably allow some activities out there.
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so this is a different situation. to the neighbors who may be concerned about activity, it is not applicable here. there is no regard back there that exists. for those instances where there could be, that could be used as a rear yard or side yard. i think i am in concert with the other commissioners on this, with the understanding that we cannot look at a blanket disapproval of any instance like this, but this particular one sounds like a problem. improvement of the fire escapes has to be done. finally, one or two people testified about some t.i.c. proceedings, which is the
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province of the rent board. that has nothing to do with the decks. it is not our issue. we are just talking about what is before us. basically, i think i am probably in concert with the other commissioners. commissioner sugaya: i will support the motion. the thing that concerns me is, since it has been characterized as a rear yard, we have a garage which then is considered a nonconforming use. now, we are involved in this situation where there is going to be some additional open space being proposed. the thing that irritates me about it, or that i am concerned about, is that the open space is not accessible to the entire building, as would be open space at a rear yard, which would be on the ground.
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i think there was some testimony that there might be a da opinion, but it seems to me that section of the code -- if we are going to be considering additional open space, it should be for the enjoyment of the entire building. i do not have problems with the roof deck. maybe we should just make an amendment now and say that the roof deck is ok. i do not believe that was part of the original motion. commissioner antonini: i thought it was left open. commissioner miguel: i was open to someone who wanted to amend it to do away with it. the deck on top of the garage,
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and the door back to what it had been before. commissioner sugaya: that was my reasoning. it should be more accessible to all. to staff, was this a rent- controlled building at one time? >> i do not know, myself. commissioner sugaya: but you are [unintelligible ] everyone out of it? >> i am the attorney for the owner. the plans have changed. it is rent-controlled. there are tenants in it. the vacant units will bere- rented. -- be re-rented. commissioner moore: i recall
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that the building -- the front of the building is francisco, which would make this garage in the side yard. but we should check our old planning books. that is my recollection. president fong: any other -- vice president wu: any other questions or comments? >> to replace the illegal door -- commissioner antonini: aye. commissioner borden: aye. commissioner moore: aye. commissioner miguel: aye. commissioner sugaya: aye. vice president wu: aye. president fong: aye. >> thank you, commissioners. the motion passes unanimously. i have been requested by technical services to take a
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five minute recess, that the supervisor hearing. the main issue was she felt this was a very large impact kind of question, to reduce the size to the smaller unit size. she thought there were issues of quality of life you would be concerned about. there are issues around the area plans, the neighborhoods that would absorb this type of housing, and the balance will try to find within the city in each neighborhood to address the issues of families and trying to have the diversity we want in san francisco. i am here to speak about why she brought this back to you in hopes you will be able to provide analysis you contribute to these kinds of questions all the time. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> sue hester. i have a handout for the commission. maybe i do not. >> i will handed out. -- hand it out. >> this letter went to environment to review and kimia earlier today. i think there needs to be a second look at whether this project has an appropriate environmental exemption. the staff memo talks about where this has planning code density effects. the legislation as presented in the building code amendment was treated as a minor issue, shrinkage of an issue without looking at how this change is since the. -- changes in density. you have changed density rules
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in the van ness corridor. it is a footnote by reference. it tells you on page two. you have basically abolished density standards. the lowest density standard is the code standard. the market octavia, area plan areas, eastern neighborhood mixed use, you have gone away from density limits. that has to be factored into every one of the area plans. try to balance the density of housing, circulation, pedestrian, how the open space is accessed, how people have a
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little situation in that neighborhood. those are things that are things environmental review should have looked at but did not because it was told it was not affecting density. you know effects density. i think this issue has to go back to in turn it to review and say, now that we have this information, is it an exemption? i think it takes a little bit of thinking. as you go through area plans and kick cases off the calendar, all the changes in prices shown in the staff report, the market crashed on one of the projects on harrison street. the crash was in 2008. we cannot anticipate there will not be a strong motion.
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there is a strong need to get these build and max out the dollar issue particularly in the area where we have a lot of tax commuters and students. >> thank you. >> i think this is an important form of housing. they even existed in the co-op where i was an owner, some of the old buildings had efficiency units on lexington, a level below the lobby or something. we had at least five. good use was made of them by older people and academy of art university students. i do tend to agree with the statement paul made with regard to open space. we did not have any usable in my building. that was ok for those of us who went out a lot or had good units like me. these people were in relatively small units, comfortable enough.
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we had no open space near. when i look at some of the newark senior housing developments at geary and pol they have wonderfuland com -- wonderful common space and roof gardens. some units are in an old hotel without a common space. i do recognize what paul says. they have a lobby that is a common room. they have a room in the back that is a television room. it is dark and windowless because it is an old building. i think if you are building new ones, it would be a good thing to have that where we live, there is no part -- park for any of us. the only substantial park is
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lafayette up a big hill the other way. there is no place to sit on polk street. i do agree with paul warmer that this is something to pay attention to. >> thank you. any further public comment on this item? >> leave them there and start talking. >> [unintelligible] >> [inaudible]
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>> sir, we can take that. >> go ahead. >> please begin. >> sorry about that. my name is patrick kennedy. i am the developer of student housing and housing for single people as well as low income individuals. i am glad supervisor elagi brought up the issue. i have done extensive study of this issue and have built prototypes of small units like this and am confident 8220 square foot in it can be comfortable and pleasant and a significant improvement on a lot of the housing stock in san francisco today. there are about 50,000 students now fighting housing on craigslist. there are about 8000 new
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techies coming to san francisco every year. this small kind of efficiency and it is the ideal -- efficiency unit is the ideal kind of unit to provide for them. they're coming to san francisco sfor a shorter period of time. they do not drive. they use many. they had active lives. they would -- they used muni. they have active lives. without providing this, they would bid up the existing stock. one problem with the plight of single families is they are competing against two or three students bidding up the price of single-family housing. the best way to address that, i believe, is to provide a lot of inefficiency dwelling units in areas that are convenient for them. a second point that is important to make is that the areas where the units will be built, areas
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with no density limitations, will be the south market areas, amid market areas, the tenderloin areas. they are all areas that can accommodate car-free housing and would be ideal for single muni- riding people to locate. it is unlikely they will build in other neighborhoods because of existing zoning controls. a final point i would like to consider with respect to minimizing the efficiency dwelling unit size is the possibility of beginning to reproduce housing for low income individuals. by reducing the size of the efficiency dwelling units, you make it possible to have all bmr units in the projects themselves. [tone!] that is a bold supervisors have expressed a desire to pursue. i would like to point out there are approximately 15,000 existing efficiency dwelling
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units and sro units that are an average of 80 to 100 feet. units like this would be a massive improvement to almost all of the current residence in these existing sro's. by allowing this amendment -- [tone!] private sector production of low-income units. thank you. >> thank you. >> good evening. i am here on behalf of patrick kennedy and the housing action coalition. the housing action coalition has been working on this legislation with supervisor wiener's office. it follows logically from our efforts on student housing. small units of this kind are a logical fit for students.
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this is a great dorm room set up. we think this is a great concept to bring affordable by design units to market. i know there has been a lot of discussion and concerned about this being a new thing under the sun. it is not. san jose, santa maria, new york, seattle, all allow these types of units. i just passed around an article about a developer in seattle who has built a number of small unit buildings. they have brought affordable by design units to market. they typically rent for a round $500 to $650 a month. that is 1/3 the average rental rate of a seattle apartment. they're extremely popular and have less than 1% vacancy rate. closer to home, if i can get the overhead, please.
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we have seen a number of affordable housing developments that include units that are the same size as would be allowed by this legislation. 170 otis street is a project being built by chinatown development. the smallest units in that project are about 195 square feet. they go up to or above 300 square feet. you recently approved the transitional affordable housing project fo ryouth coming out of the foster care system. the units in that project are around 150 square feet. the primary example of a market rate project that has been built with smaller units around 250
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square feet, the units in that project -- [tone!] they sell at $199,000 to $250,000 per unit. a point of information, that is equivalent to 120% of ami. that is a crucial affordability gap not addressed. these units can do that. it is a good concept. i hope you will support it. thanks very much. >> thank you. any further public comment? seeing none, public comment is known. commissioner? >> i am interested in this legislation, particularly as it pertains to new construction. given the old housing stock, it is hard to understand. it would require for me more examination to approve it for
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existing and new construction. in new construction, this has many years of support by the aia. it might have been interesting to hear housing designers to deal with it on a day-to-day basis describe to us the advantages of having this type of new control. they would say yes because it gives them more flexibility to do affordable by design and deal with lot circumstances and other requirements in a more creative way. i am not as much concerned about more units and the question of open space. from what i understand, open space is calculated by the number of units not on a per person basis. that means if you have a slight increase in these kinds of new efficiencies, you would have a net gain in the open space and
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would be able to create more creative and open space from the buildings. i would be supportive of this for new construction. i would still like a further explanation for existing buildings. when it comes to adaptive reuse, there are challenges that need to be codified. we took a crack at that when we discussed the stevenson building and the 2020 rule. that is further out. i do not think we are discussing that at the moment. >> thank you. commissioner antonini. >> thank you for bringing this to our attention so we have a chance to comment. this is important piece of legislation that has a lot of potential. it is important to remember these districts have lot size
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requirements. this would not be applicable unless you wanted to put a tiny unit on a normal-sized lot, which makes no sense. this would occur there. however, it will occur in places where flexible density is in place. as this moves forward as additional areas of the city may consider flexible density, remember this comes with it. i am not saying it is a bad thing, but people in the area must know you could have been very small units approved. i think the idea of limiting it to two people is fine given the square footage is small. i think where you have a situation with city-subsidized or affordable housing, you have to make some provision for a couple if a child arrives.
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something has to be done for them. something has to be done for them when that occurs. another issue was storage which i guess could be off-site. you do not have to keep everything in your unit. i appreciate the amendment by supervisor wiener to only apply it to new construction. i think it is important when people live in a neighborhood and know what sort of densities around them, if all of a sudden the density is doubled or tripled, it is something people will be concerned about. it does have a lot of potential. affordability is by design was pointed out in the example of cube x. the units are in the price range of what would be affordable as part of our below market rates affordable units. it is affordable by design. presumably, the exterior of the
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units does not have to look like cube x. did. it could look more traditional. the potential is there. i think i am supportive of this. >> thank you. commissioner borden. >> i am thankful for clarifying the open space requirement. that would be my major concern around these units. i think they make a lot of sense. i used to live in washington, d.c. in dupont circle, there were efficiency units that were compact. people were very creative to make the spaces habitable and nicer than the larger units. in a place like japan, they have places even smaller than what we are contemplating. when we talk about the housing market, the difference in washington, d.c., is an individual moving there is 25
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and working on capitol hill. they could move into an efficient unit that was an expensive war live with roommates. it is true even wonderful people who think they're doing the right thing living in multi- bedroom units with other people of similar income who can pay what one family could not. an individual who is john ward does not have a lot of money could choose that over roommate situations where you have unrelated adults taking up larger units, i think this is something we should encourage. having it in net new housing makes a lot of sense and helps significantly. i do not know how you would ever in forced the two people per unit rule. i think it is wonderful. you could put it in the code. we do not have the ability to enforce that. i think it seems a little silly
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to put in there at all, to be honest. i do not know if it is because california law states it that way. i do not think we should be in the business of dictating how many people want to be in the unit. we will not be able to police that. in sro hotels, families to live in those units. the reality is a family wants to get into the housing unit and own could buy one of these smaller units, i would hate for them to be prevented. that is something to consider from that point. >> thank you. commissioner miguel. >> we keep talking about having two-bedroom or more because their family units. on the side, we discussed the fact these are two or three or four students or young workers
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occupying these buildings. the experience i have from my children and grandchildren in living with their roommates from time to time is they would grab at this chance without any question whatsoever. they do not necessarily need more than this much space. they would rather do it without roommate's if possible. i see no problem whatsoever in the size. i agree restricting it to new construction because there could be problems that come up in conversion, and that is a totally different subject in my mind. whether these are rental or purchase, it does not matter to me. i really think they work. >> thank you. commissioner sugaya.
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>> thinking of livability in the unit, i picked this up from some other comment. it seems like there might be consideration given to the height of these things. to the developer that shows the model, are your ceiling heights taller than normal? >> we always build at least 9 feet. in most cases, 9'6". that is an excellent idea. a small space benefits enormously by having a 9 foot ceiling. we also have large windows. >> i was going to mention windows. i do not know if the building code takes care of that or if the building code -- department could take a look at the ventilation and light standards now with respect to larger
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units. i do not know if it is based on square footage or what. if we are reducing square footage, it might be a good idea to take a look at light and ventilation. >> that is required under the code. they have a set requirements for how many square feet of windows space you need for every square foot in the place. that is an international building code, i believe. >> perhaps if we are reducing it, we might want to take a look at increasing the ratio, so to speak. also, the ceiling height issue. i do not know if the commission agrees with that, but those could be recommendations back to the supervisor. >> thank you. commissioner moore. ceiling height issue poses another set of possibilities. it came out of a discussion with david baker. there is the possibility